Taxonomy, in its broadest
definition, is the orderly classification
of items presumed to have identifiable relationships or similarities.
Further, Taxonomy may refer to either a hierarchical classification
of things, or the principles underlying the classification.
Almost anything—animate objects, inanimate objects,
places, and events—may be classified according to some
Mathematically, a taxonomy is a tree structure of classifications
for a given set of objects. At the top of this structure
is a single classification—the root node—that
applies to all objects. Nodes below this root are more specific
classifications that apply to subsets of the total set of
classified objects. So for instance in Carolus Linnaeus's
Scientific classification of organisms, the root is the Organism
(as this applies to all living things, it is implied rather
than stated explicitly). Below this are the Kingdom, Phylum,
Class, Order, Family, Genus, and Species, with various other
ranks sometimes inserted.
In recent years taxonomic classification has gained support
from molecular systematics, a branch of bioinformatics that
employs the method of gene sequencing to construct phylogenetic